The Ford Fiesta Had to Die so More EVs Could Live

The factory building the Fiesta is being converted to build electric cars.

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2021 Ford Fiesta ST
Photo: Ford

Back in October, Ford announced that it would finally kill off the Fiesta. It was a sad day for fans of small hatchbacks, although it was probably sadder for those in Europe who still had access to the Fiesta after Ford stopped selling it in the U.S. But the electric cars must be built, and to make that happen, the Fiesta had to die.

Speaking to Autocar, Martin Sander, the head of Ford’s electrification division in Europe, said killing the Fiesta was “not one we did light-heartedly, but we have to do something” to advance the automaker’s EV goals. “We decided to build our first high-volume electric vehicle here in Cologne,” Sander said. “There comes the point where we need the space for construction because we are turning the Fiesta plant into a fully battery-electric plant. This is why we had to make a decision that we have to stop Fiesta production.”

Sander also said that Ford had looked at all of its factories in Europe, and it determined the Cologne location was “the best place and most natural place to make this major investment.” And it is a big investment, totaling about $2 billion. But “as a consequence, the Fiesta had to go.”

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From the sound of it, the decision was also motivated by a desire to increase profits. As Sander put it, “There is so much market outside the Fiesta territory which needs more battery-electric vehicles. Over the next months and years, we will be busy [building] a proper broad range in a higher part of the market.”

By 2026, Ford reportedly hopes to sell 600,000 EVs a year in Europe. To reach that goal, it’s going to have to add several new cars to its lineup, including the Puma EV, as well as a Focus-sized car that will be built on Volkswagen’s MEB platform. And the American automaker won’t stop there. “In 18 months, we’ll have four battery electric vehicles covering low €30k to €80k, a huge part of the market,” said Sander. “These will help us transform the brand and the business. It’s a very long-term vision.”

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As for an eventual return of the Fiesta, don’t get your hopes up. Sander said he didn’t “want to rule anything out” but said there are “no concrete plans” to bring back the sub-compact. Which is sad but understandable. As much as we love the Honda E, sales of the tiny, adorable car haven’t exactly set records in Europe. The big money, especially with EVs, is in bigger cars, so that’s exactly what Ford’s going to build.